The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Commission (CRTC) regulates telemarketing and administers the National Do Not Call List (NDNCL) which gives Canadians a choice about receiving telemarketing calls. Canadians can chose to register their residential, wireless, facsimile or VoIP telephone number on the List. If the number is listed, telemarketers, with a few exceptions, are prohibited from calling that number. If a telemarketing call is received on a registered number, one can complain to the CRTC, which has the power to enforce the prohibition and levy monetary penalties against violators.

Recently, the CRTC denied an application by the Canadian Marketing Association to use an automatic dialing-announcing device (ADAD) for telemarketing when there is an existing business relationship between the telemarketer or client of the telemarketer and the party being called. See Compliance and Enforcement Regulatory Policy CRTC 2014-155. The CRTC had previously considered the issue of ADAD calls in Telecom Decision 94-10 and had decided that these calls even cause greater inconvenience and nuisance than live calls. Despite innovations in technology, the CRTC concluded that the basic characteristic of an ADAD call remained – “a pre-recorded message that prevents the called party from immediately interacting with the caller and causes consumer inconvenience or nuisance”. Given that the use of this technology allows many more calls to be placed at a much diminished cost per call, the CRTC also concluded that, “there is a strong incentive for telemarketers to substitute ADAD calls for live calls and other marketing channels, and use ADADs to potentially exploit existing business relationships that do not, at present, lead to telemarketing calls because employing live agents is costs prohibitive.”

In the same decision, the CRTC reviewed and modified its Framework and Rules for Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules (UTRs) and the DNCL.

In addition to denying the application of the Canadian Marketing Association, the Commission provides commentary and updates on a number of issues relating to the UTRs and the DNLC.

If you are a marketer that uses telemarketing for your business, or if you are a telemarketer, these changes may be significant to your business model and should be reviewed. There are commentaries and changes to a number of aspects of the UTRs, including: the ADAD Rules, Caller name display, Record keeping requirements, Duration and scope of an internal do not call request, the grace period for a do not call request, the application of the Telemarketing Rules regarding internal DNCL requests to telecommunications whose purpose is not solicitation, business to business exemption issues, and the period of validity for contact information.